Meaningful Learning Of A Second Language Through Thematic Cycles >>> According to Salmon (1998), seven conditions favor the meaningful learning of a second language through thematic cycles (that she calls “Núcleos Temáticos”):
- Immersion: thematic cycles expose children to different symbol systems. By interacting with other children and with the teacher, they discover the meanings of those symbols.
- Demonstration: by exposing children to different kinds of texts, the teacher helps them to see how language works.
- Expectation: it is important that teachers believe in their students’ potential and help its development by offering challenging activities.
- Responsibility: students should be gradually involved in the process of decision-making and taking responsibility in their own learning process.
- Use: thematic cycles provide the students with the opportunity to use the language meaningfully and purposefully, because they will need it to gain access to information and to construct knowledge.
- Approximation: by working with different topics, children will reinforce different content areas and will also explore the new language. In this process they will use their native, as well as their foreign language, to make sense of what they listen to or read. Hypothesis on how language works will be part of the process.
- Response: Children need to be accompanied. That is why the classroom should be a place where children can interact with each other and with the teacher in order to confirm or discard their hypothesis. A language-rich environment is essential to provide the feedback they require.